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Author says take pride in your state

By Natassia Bonyanpour
Sept. 25, 2014 at 10:30 p.m.
Updated Sept. 26, 2014 at 4:36 a.m.

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The author shares his thoughts on creating a "Texas Best Seller List."  Video by Natassia Bonyanpour for The Victoria Advocate

Pride in community and state was the message at the American Book Review Reading Series hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria's on Thursday.

Ron Riekki, author of "U.P." and the anthology "The Way North" took to the microphone and shared advice for writers and authors.

"I sometimes get upset about the way that New York can dominate the consciousness of the entire country," Riekki said. "When you look at the New York Best-Seller's list, those are exceptionally favoring towards New York authors, New York settings, New York publishers in a way that's not fair; it silences other parts of the country."

Riekki explained how he shaped a best-seller list for his home state of Michigan and said it would serve as a great blueprint for Texas to follow.

"I started calling newspapers, getting all the bookstores to send me their information," he said. "I only wanted Michigan books, Michigan authors and Michigan settings."

Riekki also pointed to anthologies as a great way to represent communities.

"We need anthologies in areas and places that are underrepresented," he said. "So where in Texas is not getting represented right now? Get some attention for it, it is a great idea."

Student Madison Wong, 17, said the event prompted her to have more pride in Texas.

"This made me want to be more active in my literary community," she said. "(Riekki's) talk was so infectious, I feel like I want to represent Texas more."

The Michigan author ended his discussion with one important message to the audience:

"Bookstores are dying," Riekki said. "Please, next time you're buying books, support them. Keep them alive in Texas; they mean everything for your future and children."


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